Swan Song

Let’s savor the final hot streak of Albert Pujols

August 23, 2022

In a few months' time, Albert Pujols’ storied career will come to an end. We don’t know where and we don’t know when, but we do know it’s coming and soon. Pujols has already confirmed it, saying he won’t soldier on regardless on what records he’s chasing, and that’s notable because he’s chasing a big one:

700 homers.

Currently the 700 homer club includes just three players—Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, and Babe Ruth. That’s baseball royalty. That’s some of the rarest air you can breathe in this sport, and with a little over a month of guaranteed games left, Pujols is climbing hard to get there. In the process, he has caught fire like few believed the 42-year-old (probably older) slugger could, peeling back the service time with every swing of his iconic bat …

That was number 693, which Pujols cracked on Monday night, the lone run in 1-0 victory over the Cubs. But it’s just a sliver of the story. Over the past week, Pujols has been the hottest hitter in baseball, seemingly invigorated by his own march toward history.

Zoom out a little further and you’ll see that Pujols has posted one of the best 10-game stretches at the plate in the modern era.

These are obscene numbers, especially for a guy who had faded into irrelevance during his time with the Angels. It flies in the face of everything we know about human nature. You’re supposed to lose steam near the end, not gain it. Is there conspiracy afoot? Are pitchers tossing a few softballs in the name of "narrative"? Is Pujols slipping a little something extra in his pre-game Gatorade? Or are we simply witnessing the last hot streak of one of the greatest hitters to ever play the game?

Your answer probably says a lot about your worldview (or which NL Central club you pull for), but we choose not just to believe, but to enjoy it. Take our advice and do the same.